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August 15, 2020
Mass Cultural Council Executive Director Anita Walker to Retire
Anita Walker
Anita Walker
March 5, 2020 —The Mass Cultural Council, which annually provides millions of dollars in grant funding to Massachusetts nonprofits, today announced that Anita Walker, its executive director for the last 13 years, will retire.

The Mass Cultural Council (MCC), an independent state agency, said it is engaging a search firm to launch a nationwide pursuit for its next executive director.

“I feel like I’ve been part of a dream team of dedicated Mass Cultural Council colleagues, passionate constituents, and supportive legislative allies,” said Anita Walker. “As the Commonwealth continues to unleash the power of culture, it could not be in better hands.”

Walker, a California native, plans to return to her home state in July to be closer to her adult sons.

Mass Cultural Council is widely regarded as a premier state arts agency with innovative ideas and major impact. In its January 2020 State Arts Agency Overview, the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies found that Mass Cultural Council makes grants in more communities than any other state in the nation and makes grants to more grantees than any other state in the nation.

“The council has deep gratitude and appreciation for Anita’s vision, passion, and leadership in the nonprofit cultural sector,” said MCC chair Nina Fialkow. “We are thankful for her 13 years of service, and grateful that she will be with us for four more months to ensure the important work of the council continues uninterrupted.”

During her tenure at MCC, Walker raised the visibility of the nonprofit creative sector, including:
  • Advocating for the Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund, which has invested $119 million in arts and cultural capital building projects statewide over 10 years.

  • Launching MCC's Cultural Districts Initiative to help cities and towns attract new visitors and commerce through new arts and cultural activity.

  • Leading the creation of a new Cultural Investment Portfolio for more than 400 nonprofit arts, humanities, and science organizations that simplified the state’s support system for the nonprofit cultural sector.

  • Helping to define and build a new field of practice called Creative Youth Development which provides brave spaces for the state’s young people to create, connect, and catalyze change in their lives and communities.

  • Leading development of MCC's Universal Participation Initiative to support organizations that recognize the power of inclusive design to grow audiences and enhance cultural experiences for all, and embrace inclusivity as core to their mission.

  • Developing MCC's new CultureRx Initiative, which seeks to improve health and well-being in Massachusetts through cultural participation by providing residents unrivaled access to cultural organizations, developing strategic partnerships, and positioning the state to be a national leader in the practice of social prescription.
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